Local News

Mallott: ‘It’s a good time for leadership to change to some degree’

Byron Mallott, right, mingles with visitors at the open house of his campaign headquarters in Juneau. Mallott will leave Sealaska’s board of directors next month to concentrate of his race for governor. (Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Byron Mallott, right, mingles with visitors at the open house of his campaign headquarters in Juneau. Mallott will leave Sealaska’s board of directors next month to concentrate of his race for governor. (Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Democrat Bryon Mallott will leave Sealaska’s board of directors next month to spend more time campaigning for governor. The move shakes up an already contentious board election.

Mallott joined the Juneau-headquartered regional Native corporation’s governing body soon after it came into existence.

He chaired Sealaska’s board for about a decade, before becoming its CEO.

He later returned to the board, where he remains. That will end at Sealaska’s June annual meeting, when his term runs out.

Mallott says he’s been thinking about leaving for some time.

“I’m a candidate for governor and my time availability has become an issue to me. So I just decided it’s time,” he says.

Mallott is all but assured to be the Democratic challenger facing Republican Governor Sean Parnell in the November general election.

Sealaska’s long-time CEO, Chris McNeil, is also retiring soon. And former state Sen. Albert Kookesh is leaving the board chairmanship, though not his seat.

Mallott says he’ll complete his commitments to the corporation, then give someone else a turn.

“It’s a good time for leadership to change to some degree. There are many, many highly-qualified shareholders both on the board and amongst our shareholders. And creating that kind of opportunity for them to serve on the board to me is a very good thing,” he says.

The other three incumbents whose terms also run out this year are seeking re-election. They’re Sidney Edenshaw, Ed Thomas and Rosita Worl, who will run together as the management slate.

Four business-oriented shareholders have already announced they’ll run as their own slate.

Margaret Nelson, Carlton Smith, Ross Soboleff and Karen Taug are offering management experience outside the corporation.

Spokesman Randy Wanamaker says Mallott’s decision leaves an open seat with no heir-apparent. And that makes the board election more friendly to challengers.

“Every now or then an incumbent leaves for one reason or another,” he says. “And there’s another person who has been groomed or shares the same philosophy as the current Sealaska team steps forward. And they appoint that person in to fill the vacancy or put them on the slate as a new candidate to replace the departing director.”

Slates allow shareholders to vote a single ballot listing a group of candidates. Shareholders can also vote for a mix of members from both slates – or anyone else who runs.

Albert Kookesh, board chairman through the annual meeting, expects a lively race.

“The people who are running on that slate have good intentions. They want to run a clean race and I commend them for that. But we also have people who are independents who are running. And you have to commend them and recognize their want to be involved too,” he says.

Longtime Sealaska critics Mick Beasley and Myrna Gardner are among others running independently.

Sealaska will distribute ballots to its almost 22,000 shareholders on May 15th. They must be cast by June 26th.

Results will be announced at Sealaska’s annual meeting, June 28th in Seattle.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Sixbey strums a homemade guitar

IMG_7192
Mark Sixbey is a Tsimshian woodcarver who grew up in Metlakatla and now lives and teaches in Sitka. He brought a homemade guitar to the KCAW studios today (4-29-16). more

Ferry fares rise for third time in a year

Passengers board the ferry Malaspina while vehicles wait to load at the Auke Bay terminal in Juneau. Travelers will no longer be able to take advantage of some discounts, due to budget cuts. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)
It’s costing 10 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower-48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes. more